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Colorful cultural sketches

Colorful cultural sketches

Colorful cultural sketches

The great wave of the east. Courtesy of the artist.

By Manar Al-Mutairi
July 25th, 2022
Sketching is the first thought, the first draft, the ignition for something bigger.
Said Obaid Bahumayd
The artist Obaid Bahumayd.
Obaid Bahumayd

Is a Yemeni artist who draws his inspiration from Saudi and Yemeni heritage and folklore. His art captures the soul of the culture, expressing the beauty of the diverse traditions and people. He participated in several art exhibitions in the Kingdom and has proven that a real artist doesn’t have to get a formal education in art to produce masterpieces. In this interview, we were lucky enough to learn more about Obaid’s art, passion, and his love for sketches.

Q1. What does art mean to you?

Sketching for me is the way I feel most comfortable expressing my thoughts and feelings just like how writers express their thoughts through words, and singers express their feelings through sounds and music and so on. People around me notice that I don't talk much but I think most of the things I want to say are said through sketching and making art in general. 

The valley girl. Courtesy of the artist.
Q2. Why do you sketch, and what is so special about this form of art?

What's so special about sketching I think is its purity. Unlike the final and polished artworks, Sketches are messy and the lines are usually rough. Sketching is the first thought, the first draft, the ignition for something bigger. 

Untitled art. Courtesy of the artist.
Untitled art. Courtesy of the artist.
Some sketches by the artist. Courtesy of the artist.
Q3. Tell us about your journey, and when did you first start sketching?

I always remember myself drawing, even as a kid, I always had pencils and colors around me. I think It became something serious after high school as I started to sketch on any white surface I found, even the back of the waste stock papers and bills at work. 

Hejazi sketch. Courtesy of the artist.
Q4. What themes and stories do you like to sketch, and tell us why?

In my themes and stories I have always been fascinated by culture and the relationship between the place and the people who live in it. How does the place affect people's outfits, jewelry, clothes and their residents, as well as the effect people have on the place itself by changing the surroundings to their needs. I am also fascinated by surrealism. So I thought why not try to put these two in the mixer and see what comes out. This is how my latest works came to life, it's culture in a surreal way I think. 

The girl with the golden takhadeed. Courtesy of the artist.
Southern sketch. Courtesy of the artist.
Najd man. Courtesy of the artist.
Q5. What is your favorite sketch or sketches, and why?

I like most of my artworks but I would say my favorite is a project I did about two years ago. It was a collaboration with another artist friend Muhannad Bharri (he also makes great sketches and drawings). He is a professional nurse dealing with patients suffering psychological illnesses. So with his knowledge I came up with three artworks trying to picture some of these illnesses and the way patients feel. The artworks are Decision, Depression and Hallucination. I think I will get back to that project and make new sketches and artworks.

Q6. We saw you did a book cover, tell us about it, and is this something you will do again

Actually I did several book covers. The only one that got spread around is the one I did for "Alchemist" by the Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho. The whole thing was kind of a surreal experience. The novel "was" my favorite novel and to be able to do the artwork for its cover and see it on the shelves of bookstores is still incomprehensible to me. I did all of Paulo Coelho's books in the Arabic release. I also did two book covers for Saudi author Salman Altayari and one book cover for an Egyptian author and I definitely will do more if I get the chance. 

Decision. Courtesy of the artist.
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